Hawker & Wilpena Resort

Trip Start Aug 31, 2015
Trip End Sep 24, 2015

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Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Monday, September 7, 2015

First priority today was to replace the tyre we damaged yesterday as we didn't want to travel too far without a spare. We still don't know what led to the tyre damage, but it seems somewhere along the way we punctured the tyre and then before I'd realised it was deflating, the tyre was damaged beyond a simple puncture repair. But there was no point worrying about why at this point. We'd taken note of the phone number for Chris's Mechanical Services when we returned via Hawker yesterday evening as tyres were one of the services advertised on their window. After breakfast I rang and after a couple of attempts to get through due to the problematic mobile phone coverage in an area limited to the Camp Kitchen at Rawnsley Park, they confirmed they had tyres in the size required.

So it was back to Hawker and Chris fitted a new tyre immediately we arrived in no time flat - great service! Certainly we were in better luck than another guy who was also there chasing a particular tyre as Chris didn't have one and they were phoning as far away as Leigh Creek. I heard Chris' assistant say Leigh Creek was actually serviced better than Hawker - they have an IGA supermarket there!

With the tyre situation resolved, we took advantage of reasonable mobile phone coverage in Hawker to upload the three days backlog of our travelpod. When I was doing our blog Lucinda found a Quandong tree near where we had parked the car and was able to take a photo of it. Lucinda was also watching all of the caravans, campervans and other travelling accommodation passing through the town and either turning left towards Port Augusta or right towards Parachilna and perhaps further North past Leigh Creek. We were taken by a couple of old style touring busses which reminded us of the Priscilla Queen of the Desert connection with Broken Hill.

We had intended to visit Jeff Morgan's gallery in Hawker on our way back from Rawnsley Park when heading for Woomera tomorrow, but it made sense to see it today seeing we were here. Jeff Morgan is a local artist who has many painting featuring the landscape and fauna and flora. But apart from displaying some of these originals and providing an outlet for the sale of prints, the gallery also houses his famous Wilpena Pound Cyclorama and some other large scale 'outback on Canvas' murals. The Wilpena Pound Cyclorama (Panorama) is in a circular room and is viewed from an elevated platform in the centre. A sign at that viewing point says you are standing at St Mary Peak (1170m elevation) and indeed it was a bit like when we were in the plane as you are surrounded by the Pound and can see the landscape beyond.

The cafe we saw when we came through Hawker on Friday was closed today and so there were limited lunch options. We settled for a pastie from the Mobil service station and found at the back of that was Fred Teague's Museum. It was an interesting collection of historical artefacts, including some old Traeger (inventor of the pedal radio) radios, but the standout item is a fully operational Seismograph. You could see it recording as the drum rotated and there were charts on display which showed when seismic events had occurred in the region.

Apart from the wildlife we saw on the side of the road, one item that took our fancy on the road between Hawker and Rawnsley Park was a pink Land Rover letterbox, covered by a curved galvanised roof to keep it looking neat and tidy.

Rather than return to Rawnskey Park we continued back towards the Wilpena Resort turnoff and just 500m beyond that is the famous Cazneaux Tree. Harold Cazneaux was a famous photographer and his photo of this tree with Wilpena Pound in the background apparently won many awards at Australian and International exhibitions. The photo is known as the "Spirit of Endurance".

We then dropped in on the Wilpena Pound Resort and while we weren't up to doing any of the long walks into the Pound, after a cup of tea and cake in the Visitor's Centre we did have a walk around the caravan & camping ground to see how it compared as an alternative to Rawnsley Park. The sites looked quite good, but while you are somewhat surrounded by the Pound, I think the outlook at Rawnsley Park is perhaps better. We saw one of the busses that we'd seen at Hawker earlier in the evening parked in a site here.

So it was back to Rawnsley Park for the last time as tomorrow we move on to Woomera. The only obstacle we faced was sheep crossing the access road, but eventually they decided the verge was perhaps a safer place. I put the wheel with the new tyre back on the car and put the spare back in its place ready for the car to be packed for tomorrow's departure.

Dinner was the second portion of Jamie Oliver Wicked Chicken Skewers with a pasta salad, followed by peaches and icecream for desert. With our cup of tea we had the last of the Quandong Chocolates that Lucinda purchased at Jeff Morgan's Gallery.

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